Briton jailed for three months in Dubai for touching man's hip

Josh Halliday
A view of Dubai from the Burj Khalifa tower. Photograph: Jon Gambrell/AP

A Scottish man has been sentenced to three months in jail in Dubai for touching a man’s hip as he carried a drink through a crowded bar.

Jamie Harron, 27, was arrested for public indecency at the Rock Bottom bar on 15 July. The electrician, from Stirling, claimed he was simply trying to avoid spilling his drink when he touched the man.

It was thought the case against Harron might have been dropped after reports that the businessman he touched had withdrawn his complaint. But on Sunday the campaign group Detained in Dubai, which has been supporting Harron, said he had been sentenced to three months in jail for public indecency.

The group said he would appeal against the jail term but he faced further court proceedings for drinking alcohol and for allegedly swearing at the businessman he touched.

In a statement, the group said Harron was “angry, disappointed and dreads what may happen next. He feels betrayed and exploited by the system, which did not investigate the reports of key witnesses in his defence and led him to believe that the case would be dropped.”

The group said Harron would take legal action against his accuser, said to be a senior employee at the engineering firm Neuman and Esser, when he was eventually able to return to Britain.

Radha Stirling, the chief executive of Detained in Dubai, said Harron had “suffered tremendously” as a result of the allegations, had lost his job, faced losing his home and was struggling to pay his legal bills.

She said: “Now Jamie has been sentenced to three months. There is no telling whether a judgment on appeal will be better or worse. He has already suffered tremendously as a result of these allegations, and now faces the likelihood of incarceration.

“His family was unable to visit him during this critical time because they faced a very real risk of imprisonment themselves under the UAE’s cybercrime laws which forbid criticism of the government.

“At this point, Jamie will definitely be pursuing civil action against his accusers when he does eventually return home, as it appears that he will not be able to find justice in the UAE.”

Neuman and Esser said its employee sought to drop his complaint against Harron in August, but Harron’s supporters have said there is no documentation to support this and said his accuser had never appeared in court to request a dismissal.

Harron was previously sentenced to 30 days in prison for failing to appear at a court hearing into his case, although Detained in Dubai said he had not been notified of the date in advance.

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